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The Thurso & Nation Valley Railway was a true rarity in eastern Canada, a logging railway.

A brief history by Phil Mason

It was in operation from 1926 to 1986. It was owned for many years by the Singer Sewing Machine Company and was used to haul hardwoods to Thurso QC on the Ottawa River where the wood was milled to produce cabinets for sewing machines. For many years, there was a small logging community called Singer at about the midpoint of the TNVR. Like many logging operations, the TNVR had some branch lines and extensions and at one time went 52 miles north from Thurso and a junction with the CPR.

The TNVR dieslised early, with three GE diesels replacing a similar number of steam engines in the late 1940's. By 1956, Thurso Pulp and Paper was established to harvest and process softwood lumber, with a pulp mill at Thurso. The Singer Sewing Machine Company diversified into manufacturing box car flooring and general purpose furniture. Finally, the Singer mill closed when overseas competition saw an end to American made sewing machines with wood cabinets.

The TNVR purchased several ex-CN GE 70 tonners in 1970 which replaced the earlier GE centre cabs. Two pieces of rolling stock that remained in service for the whole life of the railway were the ex-CP business car 27 and an ex-CP wooden caboose.

The T&NVR was friendly toward railfans, and over the years many excursions took place, many sponsored by the Bytown Railway Society (producers of the Trackside Guide). These images are from a Fall excursion in 1970.

At that time, there was still a fleet of ancient logging cars in use, replaced in the final years by more modern cars from the main line railways.

Finally, the railway closed in stages in 1986, replaced by a logging road. Fortress Paper now operates the pulp mill at Thurso QC.

Several items including a GE diesel and Car 27 are preserved at the National Museum of Science & Transportation in Ottawa.

These images are from several runpasts which took place on the railfan excursion of September 1970.

Car 27 dates from the 1890's on the CPR, and was acquired by the TNVR in 1929. It had been configured as an accommodation car with a kitchen at one end and a dining room at the other.

I'm glad I got to ride this railway almost fifty years ago and that some pieces of equipment survive today.

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